High Court entitled to jail Quinn jnr for contempt, Supreme Court finds
SEÁN QUINN jnr will learn tomorrow whether he faces a further period of detention in prison.
This follows a Supreme Court ruling that the High Court was entitled to jail him for three months over his involvement in a controversial $500,000 (€381,000) payment to a Ukrainian woman.
The three-month period expires tomorrow but the Supreme Court said yesterday Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo Irish Bank, is free to apply to jail Mr Quinn jnr until such time as he purges his contempt over the August 2011 payment to Larissa Puga, general director of Quinn Properties Ukraine, on the eve of its takeover by the bank.
It was previously indicated that he could purge his contempt if he paid that sum to the bank.
In the High Court tomorrow, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne is due to review developments since she made orders on July 20th last jailing Mr Quinn. She also made an order jailing his cousin Peter Darragh Quinn, but as he did not attend court and has remained at his home in Northern Ireland since, that order remains unexecuted.
The judge said in July she would not jail Seán Quinn snr at that stage to leave him free to take steps to reverse the asset-stripping scheme. The bank could apply tomorrow to jail Mr Quinn snr,
Mr Quinn jnr was jailed following the finding of contempt over the Puga payment and over non-compliance with some 30 coercive orders made against all three Quinns. The 30 orders were aimed at reversing a range of measures designed to strip up to $430 million in assets from the Quinns’ international property group to put them beyond the reach of IBRC, which is pursuing the Quinn family over €2.8 billion in loans.
The judge also found Seán Quinn snr and Peter Darragh Quinn in contempt over the Puga payment and other measures, and ruled they too had failed to comply with the coercive orders.
It was argued for the Quinns that they could not comply with the coercive orders for various reasons, including that events in Russia and Ukraine were out of their control and in the control of lawyers and others in those countries.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court delivered its summarised majority ruling on Mr Quinn jnr’s five-day appeal against the High Court finding of contempt and the decision to jail him. Full written judgments will be provided next week.
Seán Quinn jnr was permitted to attend court for the brief ruling and was accompanied by his wife, Karen Woods, sisters Aoife and Colette, and brothers-in-law Niall McPartland and Stephen Kelly.
IBRC was represented by chief executive Mike Aynsley and senior executive Richard Woodhouse.
The chief justice, Ms Justice Susan Denham, Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell and Mr Justice Liam McKechnie agreed with Mr Justice Nial Fennelly’s decision dismissing Mr Quinn jnr’s appeals against the finding he was in contempt over the Puga payment, and against the imposition of three months’ imprisonment on foot of Ms Justice Dunne’s order of July 20th.
The four judges granted Mr Quinn jnr’s appeal against the finding that he breached all 30 coercive orders but upheld orders requiring him to disclose his assets and providing for the appointment of receivers over those assets. He has provided affidavits of assets.
The judges also found there was “no distinct consideration” by Ms Justice Dunne on July 20th as to whether Mr Quinn jnr should be committed to prison until he purged his contempt over participation in the Puga payment. That did not prevent the bank making a further application to the High Court in that respect, they said.
Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman disagreed with the majority and said he would have allowed the appeal in its entirety.